If you’ve followed the Pokémon franchise at all over recent years, then you know that the series has had a close relationship with leaks and rumors. With the build up to each recent new entry, fans flocked to even the tiniest information that could lead to early information. Now, while speculating the contents of future games is all well and good, sometimes there are those who take it a little too far.

With every path to each new Pokémon game came rumors and leaks abound. From forums posting “early information,” to “leaked images” surfacing on the internet, the community pumped these out by the dozens. Because of this, we’ve seen two major things occur: 1) several rumors surface, building hype to an unreachable level, and 2) legitimate leaks surfacing and ruining the games for some. Moving forward to the newest entries, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, we begin to see the same pattern unfold. While I can see that some out there simply don’t care about the information that arises about Pokémon, I feel that I speak for a majority of the community when I say that the rise in rumors and leaks is a toxic relationship for the series. Why is this so? Why should they stop? Well, let’s investigate this topic further in order to answer those questions.

Pokémon’s Leaky Past

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To analyze the history that Pokémon has with leaks and rumors in the past, let’s take a look at the previous games: Sun and Moon. At first glance, the 7th generation seemed to be a bit of a disappointment for many. The community expected Game Freak to revolutionize the franchise, but in the end, most would say the games missed the mark. While Sun and Moon did include some new mechanics and features that brought a new light on Pokémon, no “revolutionary” changes were made. Continue further back into the months prior to the games’ release, and it becomes apparent why the drop was so steep.

With every new month came a new 4Chan post or a new image that caused the community to get excited. Some featured looks at could have been the new Starters, while others contained information regarding the games’ plot. While most of these rumors were just that: rumors, the occasional leaker would come along with some actual information from the games. The most infamous example of this would likely come from the leaked concept art for the final starter evolutions. When these images surfaced, fans were divided. Some enjoyed the look that Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio would take, while others felt extremely disappointed. Why wouldn’t they? with all the art that popped up at the time, its hard to maintain expectations of what could and couldn’t happen.

This only touches the surface. As time went on, more early information arose. The leaks finally came to a head when datatminers managed to extract the images of every new Pokémon from Sun and Moon. When you think about it, it makes sense why fans feel the way they do about these games. The combination of finding everything out early and wanting more lead to the unreachable.

Sword and Shield: Leak Proof?

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Now that we’ve examined the past, let’s apply it to the present. As of the writing of this article, the existence of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield has been known for twelve days. In these twelve days we’ve seen supposed leaked information pertaining to the final starter evolutions, new “armored” evolution, and the box art legendary Pokémon. Sadly, it appears the eight generation of Pokémon has and will continue to suffer from the highest amount of rumors yet.

In short, the amount of fake and early information that has risen regarding Pokémon has created a damaging scenario. We as a community spread these images and post so much that we hold our desires to an unhealthy level. This results in the final product never becoming what we want. With Sword and Shield set to release later this year, it seems that history is bound to repeat itself. But it doesn’t have to. Plenty of gaming communities manage to minimize spreading spoilers and leaks, which thus leads to more enjoyable games. If the Pokémon community respects one another and refrains from delving too deep, then Sword and Shield could end up providing the experience we all hope for.

How do you feel about Pokémon leaks? Let us know in the comments below! For more Pokémon-related content, check out our articles on Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield: The Games We Were Hoping For? and Pokémon Let’s Go!: Should The Gameplay Continue? Otherwise, keep it on Culture of Gaming for all things gaming!

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